Guidelines for the Overwhelmed


Have you ever felt like you just have so much work to do? Or when you have a list of expectations to accomplish and did not meet them? Have you ever felt the weight and pressures of stressful deadlines, responsibilities, and expectations?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Life at times can be stressful and overwhelming. Yet, we may not recognize it at the moment.

Personally, I was having a hard time this week. It was not until I started to reflect on how I was feeling as opposed to distracting myself with: TV, YouTube, or social media. I share this experience of feeling overwhelmed because the first step is to gain awareness of you are feeling. The feeling of Overwhelmed is not a condition but a state of mind(Halseth, 2018). I will be providing a roadmap on how to gain awareness of how you are feeling and what actions to take to change.

First, we must remove ourselves from the current environment. When we remove ourselves from the space, it provides a sense of distance from what is happening in our lives. You may choose to go to your favorite coffee shop, the library, a park, a garden, or any place that will allow yourself to go into reflection. The best way to know we need self-care is when you retreat. Once we are in a different space, we can begin to distance ourselves from what is occurring in our lives.

Take a moment and recognize how you are feeling. Identify the feeling that you have been experiencing.

Reflect on what has happened over the course of the week. It can be an event, a conversation, or issue that may have led to you feeling this way? What happened over the week that led to this experience? Identify what could contribute to you feeling this way.

We can start to intentionally choose how we want to experience our days or week. This is when you reflect on your values. What is important to you? What aligns with what you wish to accomplish? By understanding our prioritizes, we can realign our tasks or remove tasks.

Now, that you have identified what your feeling and have a plan moving forward. You choose what you wish to embody in your life. Love? Peace? Calm? Joy? You decide what you want to embody in your life.

Personally, I often choose calm as a beginning stage of transformation. Meditation and deep breathing are my favorite ways to bring calmness into my life. The meditation allows me to gain peace and awareness of the present moment without judgment. Deep breathing allows your body to slow down because it increases the amount of oxygen and slows down your heart rate (Harvard Health Publishing 2015). My favorite meditation when I am feeling strong emotions is called ‘working with difficult emotions,’ which you can find below.


A 10-Minute Meditation to Work with Difficult Emotions


Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. Retrieved from

Peck, D. (2017, April 19). Feeling Overwhelmed? Strategies To Cope And Survive. Retrieved from

Photos  by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Karen Vejar is a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Chapman University. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California, Irvine. Karen is a first generation Latina, dedicated to collaborating with other underrepresented individuals that wish to make an impact in the arena of mental health. Her intention as a future therapist is to promote healthy relationships that nourish and cultivate healing for individuals and couples.


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